Every driver knows that a flat tire can ruin your day, but we think that our trusty spare tire will get us out of that jam. It may be inconvenient, need to be replaced shortly after being put on, and take up space, but it’s there in case of an emergency.
The problem is that not all new cars come with spare tires. You may be driving without a spare tire and not realize it because you didn’t think to ask the car dealership at the time of purchase. We’re used to spare tires coming standard, so we don’t ask what seems like a silly question. However, AAA reports that more than a third of new cars in 2016 didn’t come with spare tires. An older car is more likely to have a spare, but that’s not guaranteed. In 2006, 5 percent of new cars didn’t have spare tires.
Car companies have replaced spare tires with tire inflation kits, so you’re not completely without a backup plan. Unfortunately, the tire inflation kits only work under very specific circumstance and expire after 4 to 8 years. The only circumstance that tire inflation kits work well in is when a nail or some other object gets stuck in your tire, causing it to lose air. If the nail doesn’t stay in the tire, the inflation kit won’t work, which means you must call a tow truck.
You’re probably reading this wondering who came up with the idea to remove spare tires and replace them with something that doesn’t work in many common situations. While we don’t know which company was the first to remove the spare tire, car companies removed them to meet fuel efficiency standards.
If you’re in the market for a new car, the good news is many car companies offer spare tire kits as an add on, but you do have to ask for them. Also, adding a spare tire means you’re adding to your car’s weight, so your car will be less fuel efficient than the company claims.